Bromwell Elementary paraprofessional and parent Ashley Walker fell in love with the schools staff and curriculum after sending her first child there five years ago. However, the schools design, which discouraged student participation and collaborative learning, was a bit less lovable.
My oldest was often told to be quiet, said Ashley. As an educator, I can tell you that if you tell some children to be quiet enough times, it is going to hinder them from participating.
Like other schools built in the 1970s, Bromwell had an open classroom design. When that approach fell out of favor, thin, temporary walls were erected to separate the classes. Those thin walls forced teachers to limit collaborative learning activities that might be disruptive to neighboring classes and to quiet louder students during class discussions.
I think that there is a lot of value in collaborative learning, Ashley said. And if [students] cant talk, they cant work together and learn from each other.
Now, thanks to funding from the 2012 Denver bond and mill levy, Bromwell has been transformed. Permanent walls and break-out rooms for individual and small-group activities give the privacy and space for students and teachers to speak freely. A remodeled art room and new gym floor extend learning beyond the classroom. And a new playground and classroom designed for the unique needs of four- and five-year-olds creates an optimal environment for ECE students to learn through play.
With three kids now in Bromwell, Ashley couldnt be more excited.
The value of classroom time has shot up immensely, Ashley said. Teachers can focus on teaching ,not how loud they are, and students are able to learn the way that they are supposed to.
The value of classroom time has shot up immensely, Ashley said. Teachers can focus on teaching, not how loud students are, and students are able to learn the way that they are supposed to.